Poetry Blog by John E Marks

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Wie prophetisch - Rainer Maria Rilke

A great deceit is practised by the liars who rule the world
Playing the fool they tell us we cannot be ourselves.
And we believe them, more fool we.
They tell us to be satisfied, to fall into line,
But amongst themselves they call us
Filthy, ignorant swine. 
They drink their wine slowly,
Savour every drop.
Laugh at the face outside the window
Dirty, ignorant sop. 
On April 19, 1903 in Viar...

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A California Spectral

Squirming words,
squabbling, fighting, reeling words
sore with myself.
so sore with myself
a world of regret,

This absence of you
it's all I can do to write to you.
O! I wish I could turn words into wishes.
O! I wish my days would fall into line
my eyes rise for you
without the slightest disguise
for you.


This evening is so heavy, the rain has been & gone,

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Charlotte's one day late Birthday party

In Victoria Park Salford we held a party
On the 2nd April for Charlotte who was 2
On April Fool’s Day. There were balloons
Footballs, Easter eggs and so much love.
It was cold but very sunny, she loved it.
Charlotte is not a people person per se
She likes space, walking and talking
To herself and Peppa Pig who came
To her party but did not impress her.
Just a big cartoon pig who disappear...

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I had returned to that reassuring but profoundly unsatisfactory state known as 'being in one's right mind.”
― Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception 


The days of stormy autumn come
Mother, child, brother, son,
Memories, like dust, infest my eyes, 
Swirling, like Turner’s skies;
Like water under wind,
Mixing greys and blacks, whites and blues,
A chiaroscuro, tussling monochromes

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The rhythm of a dream

I stumble into my usual discontented   
bout  of sleep -  
a fragment of the fourth dimension
traps my insides inside an echo of a dream –
time, like the river Lethe,washes over me,
I am left bereft, left to float upon the river of unmindfulness
towards the golden dome which glows with synesthetic force –           
a pulsating kaleidoscope of times –     present-future-past –
flashes fast...

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Things fall apart

This mourning moon comes out too soon
This unrest rids me of the zest for living
My insides squirm towards a common grief
An inside loneliness that strips me apart.
My body is dying, sentenced to death.
I know: despite this cavalier attitude, that I owe you 
So much, the clouds are so vast and we are so small.
Yet I must prepare, for when I am not here. not there
Things do not go my way: s...

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The snow moon

As we move towards the Ides
of March, awake, as if from sleep,
Peep up at the snow moon sky.
If you want to read this sky
look up, be high, as clouds
scurry by, just as they did
in Roman times. Forget
context – be free to see
the full moon of late February
slide across  the Aurora sun. 

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Terra Nova

Shadow behind the sun, the echo of her words,
Meanings stuck in transit, the music of the Byrds,
Brimming lives at stake, my friend, as all hearts ache;
Years pass by like phantoms, passions of the heart
Stalk in silence the silence of her heart, faeries take their part.
Forget what you remember, give and never take.
Lift the veil off the mysteries, see the lady of the lake. Silky torn up la...

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Himalyan Greeks*

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2011

 Abstracted in Afghanistan
 I pick cankers for a simple
 choose a rhapsody in blue
 love lapis lazuli
 and you.

 I paint the Virgin Mary
 with ultramarine pigment
 extracted from lapis lazuli
 where I am with the brave Kalash,
 in their snow-capped mountains,
 of the Hindu Kush,

 The blue-blue skies
 reflect their blue-green...

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The old religion of love


I do not think
But I am living under this mountain,
That might crush the life out of me
Any time, any day,
So, I drink anyway.
Too much grandiosity
Dims the soul
Makes us old.

I hear the wise ones pleading, screaming when on fire,
So much screaming, as the flames they get higher:
Hebane, belladonna, mandrake, datura
All of these, like mescaline, can see right through yer.
A br...

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February early morning

Freezing rain soaks my clothes, my hair,
I do not care.  I am not there.
I stare at the mortar
between the crumbling bricks in this old wall
built by the calloused hands of men who’d survived
the Somme. Who’d been called ‘dirty scabs’
in 1929 by striking dockers, miners. They’d hung their heads in shame
but they’d had mouths to feed. They’d taken any work they could obtain.
They’d carv...

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Photo by sanin sn on Unsplash


The best of us British fell on the Somme, Verdun, Passchendaele,
Our luckier cousins had long ago set off across the broad Atlantic
Convicts moved to the antipodes, to the Swan River of Western Australia
Convict scum of the East End born to live again.
The ragged Scots, after Culloden
So many Irish everywhere in the Empire
The Raj with the spice and ...

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Our endless numbered days

Sky and sea and land, these three amigos,
 like love and fate,
 lately delayed the day when the dreadful daylight starts
 of unkept promises and broken hearts.

God’s dying conspired to extinguish every ounce of youth and beauty
 to send us scurrying to the heaven-sent skies,
 or some dreamy city of the sultry south,
 where word of mouth only carries a smidgen of meaning,
 and that’s ...

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Summer snow

 “Do not be afraid; our fate
Cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.”
― Dante Alighieri, Inferno

A rose in December,
 snows in July,
 as far as we know
 the unexpected will die.

 Common sense has infirmities
 deformities, affinities,
 with pie in the sky;
 we seek to get by.

Nothing happens too late
 that isn’t taboo
 a floating moon slips
 above stone-built walls,
 a story of ...

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29 May 1453 - 11 September 2001

Waiting for the barbarians is over:
A whiter shades of pale, pretty traces of lace,
Reveal in opal-sluminosity these late Romans,
Their indigo-dream, red with gore on this bloody May Day
Arabian savagery negates their absorption into the timeless
Creation of Constantinople’s drift and swell,
Elysium’s perfumed garden of lucidity broken by
Mehmed’s Turkic desecration, his sweltering road to ...

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